The Creative and Reflexive Realms of Gamaturgy


  • Lori M. Shyba McMaster University and Sundial Media


This article introduces the synergy between theatre, games, and social activism that I have coined “Gamaturgy.” Gamaturgy, in both the creative and reflexive realms, as I describe them, is derived from theatrical dramaturgy and provides new ideas for creating and critically analyzing serious videogames, especially social issue games. First, I sketch out the formative dramaturgical influences from Augusto Boal’s Forum Theatre, Paulo Friere's transitive pedagogy, and Victor Turner's concepts of the liminoid and social justice. I then expand this unique way of play-making into the realm of creative gamaturgy as a way of creating experiential interactions and constructing meanings in the design and creation of serious videogames. As for the aim of finding a new form of thematic analysis for videogames, I use my original case study The Pipeline Pinball Energy Thrill Ride Game to demonstrate a method of recovering meanings from games through the implementation of reflexive gamaturgy.

Author Biography

Lori M. Shyba, McMaster University and Sundial Media

Assistant Professor, Dept. of Communications and Multimedia, McMaster Universtiy Creative Director, Sundial Media Ltd.